Top Three ACC Playmakers in '09

Harlon Jordan ACC Blitz@ACCBlitzCorrespondent IJune 22, 2009

From ACCBlitz.com

Title says it all: I'm throwing out my Top Three Playmakers for '09.

Normally, I wouldn't pick three players from the same position, but that's where the talent is this year in the league. There are no real marquee/standout QBs, and a slew of good receivers were lost via the draft/graduation last year.

I am defying the major publications out there with my No. 1 (EVERYONE and their brother has Dwyer in the top spot), but my Top Three doesn't rely on statistics alone or "who's the best running back", but a combo of stats + the ability to change game at any given moment (plus the potential for a highlight reel play).


No. 1—RB CJ Spiller, Clemson

One of the fastest and most explosive players in all of football. Considering he was the No. 2 RB behind newly drafted James Davis, Spiller accumulated pretty amazing stats in '08.

He ran for a little over 50 yards a game, but again his touches were limited. He took advantage of his opportunities though, averaging almost 5.5 yards a carry, and scampered for seven TDs.

The '09 season should be a break-out one for rushing yards, seeing as he is the premier running back now and barring injuries should see twice the attempts.

What really sets Spiller apart from the crowd is his pass catching ability. We've all seen his jaw-dropping moves against BC and GT off swing passes.

I don't expect to see his receiving numbers nearly as high as '08, when he racked up 436 yards receiving (12.8 Average) and three TDs, but he is still a legitimate threat.

And, if rushing and receiving weren't enough, he is dangerous on the return as well, tallying over 700 yards in returns in '08 (and an eye-popping 27.2 yard average on kickoffs).


Hell yeah.

Check out the video of his return against Alabama in the season opener back in '08. I'll go out on a limb and say watch out for Spiller to be a dark horse in the Heisman race if Clemson can find a solid QB and their Offensive Line actually performs to par.

Rushing116 - 629 Yards, 5.4 Avg, 7 TD, 52.4 Yards per Game
Receiving34 - 436 Yards, 12.8 Avg, 3 TD, 36.3 Yards per Game
Punt Returns18 - 189 Yards, 10.5 Avg, 0 TD
Kick Returns19 - 516 Yards, 27.2 Avg, 1 TD
All-Purpose147.5 Yards per Game

No. 2—RB Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech

The 2008 ACC Player of the Year might just pull a repeat in '09. Dwyer broke out in '08, helping Georgia Tech to a 9-4 record and second place finish in the Coastal.

This guy is the real deal, the kind of running back you want AND need to base your team around, and, considering the type of offense Johnson is running, Dwyer gets plenty of chances to show what he's made of.

The '08 season was just a glimpse—almost 1400 yards and averaged seven (yes SEVEN) yards a carry.

Nearly a first down EVERY RUSH.

With every season that passes, the option offense for the Jackets will get more refined and polished, allowing their RBs (or QB) to break through the line and pick up yards.

Dwyer has a major advantage over other RBs in the league—an improved offensive line, and a QB that distracts the defense and keeps them honest.

And, while he isn't up there with Spiller as a receiver, Dwyer still did all right for himself (200+ Yards and a TD).

Don't expect to see to many kickoff or punt returns though, but DO expect 1500+ yards rushing in '09 and a mention for the Heisman.

There is no excuse for Tech to not push for the Coastal crown.

Rushing200 - 1395 Yards, 12 TD, 7.0 Avg, 107.3 Yards per Game
Receiving8 - 209 Yards, 1 TD, 26.1 Avg, 16.1 Yards per Game
Punt ReturnsN/A
Kick Returns8 - 171 Yards, 21.4 Avg, 0 TD
All-Purpose136.5 Yards per Game

No. 3—RB Da'rel Scott, Maryland

Talk about a breakout season.

The 2008 season saw Scott quietly come out of nowhere and finish second in the league in rushing with 1,133 yards.

This kid has some serious wheels and good moves, and, with the passing game in okay shape, he has the potential to blow-up again this year.

The only problem for Scott is the offensive line—the Terps are losing a majority of their starters and will have to gel FAST. He won't have the supporting cast that Dwyer and Spiller have, but if he see's daylight—watch out.

In all honesty, if the running game is sluggish, don't be surprised to see his receiving stats go up. He didn't put up the biggest numbers for receiving, but when you're as naturally athletic as Scott, good will come when he touches the ball.

Either way, Da'Rel (NOT Darrell) Scott comes in at No. 3 for the 2009 Playmakers in the ACC.

Rushing209 - 1133, 5.4 Avg, 8 TD, 94.4 Yards per Game
Receiving21 - 171 Yards, 14.2 Yards per Game
Punt ReturnsN/A
Kick ReturnsN/A
All-Purpose108.7 Yards per Game

Honorable Mention

QB R.Wilson, NC State—QB R.Skinner, Wake Forest

Harlon Jordan, ACC Blitz


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